A little over one month into Forsberg Watch, and significant progress has not been made in the ongoing contract negotiations between Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators.
Forsberg, who told reporters during his end-of-season media availability that the goal was to stay in Nashville, has left much of the leg work up to his agent J.P. Barry.
Predators general manager David Poile said during his season-ending press conference that he had been in regular communication with Forsberg’s representation, and that he could only put his best foot forward in terms of the dollar value of a potential new contract.
Like Poile, who’s said for the better part of four months he believes Forsberg will re-sign, Predators head coach John Hynes also has a strong feeling it’s just a matter of time before Nashville locks up its star forward.
“There’s obviously really good communication with Filip,” Hynes said in a radio interview with Darren, Daunic & Chase on Wednesday. “He’s around, he’s at Centennial Sportsplex, he’s skating. We’ve connected and talked, and I think he’s in a good place, but things have to play out, obviously, on the business side with him.
“…Hopefully for us — we have a lot of respect for Fil, he’s a big part of our team and I really enjoy coaching him … certainly from our perspective as coaches, we’re hoping Filip is going to stay here and continue to be a big part of our team. We’re optimistic and pretty confident that will happen.”
Forsberg, 27, just finished the final season of a six-year, $36 million contract.
Poile noted that parts of a no-movement clause — which he’s only ever given to two players — was an important piece to the negotiations, as well as the final dollar amount of the deal, which Poile admitted was the only aspect of the extension he and Forsberg weren’t in agreement on.
Reports indicate that Forsberg has asked for a contract with an average annual value around captain Roman Josi’s $9.059 million per year deal.
Should Forsberg choose not to re-sign, Poile disclosed he has several backup plans in the works. Hynes also said as much on Wednesday, noting he and his coaching staff were watching game tape of several players deemed to be organizational fits in a post-Forsberg world.
“We certainly have a plan if Filip comes in — this is what he could get paid, these are the years, this is what our team looks like with him on it,” Hynes continued. “Okay, [now] how do we want to surround him? Let’s target these types of players and this is what our budget will look like.
“If Filip doesn’t sign, what’s that next stage? Maybe there’s more players to add, maybe a different style of player to add. Things change, but we certainly have Plan A and B for sure where you have Filip, or you don’t have Filip. It’s two different situations, but we’re certainly prepared, we’re working on those things, we have targets on each one.”
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_